Songs for Sale
Colette Wickenhagen Definitely at her best before a 'live' audience, Colette is known as a real 'theatre animal'! 2005 ... She has a voice like a luxuriously upholstered bridal suite. Pleasant, sumptuous, warm. Complete with exciting nooks and soft carpets in subdued shades. Colette Wickenhagen, one of the shiners of Amersfoort jazz, blossomed into the complete jazz diva with her elastic timbre, almost unlimited technique, playful improvisations, penetrating interpretation of the lyrics and remarkable radiation. Ever since 1986 she specialized as a Jazz & Blues vocalist and worked with a.o.: Rob Agerbeek, Rob v. Kreeveld, Henk Haverhoek, Edwin Corzilius, John Engels, Frits Landesbergen, Ferdinand Povel, Fred Leeflang, Clous v. Mechelen, Saskia Laroo, Harry Verbeke, Cees Slinger, Claudio Roditi, the Royal Dutch Airforce Band and many others. 1990, she won the Polaroid Award & Soloist Award together with the Big Band Nijmegen. 1992, she won the Breukelen Jazz Award. 1994, her first solo CD: 'the Kick of the Blues' was brought out and later that year she also sang on the Big Band Nijmegen CD: 'Retrospective'. 1994 she toured through Bahrain and Kenya. 1997 she did a project with the Royal Dutch Airforce Orchestra in The Netherlands, Germany & Spain. 2000 she was a guest on the CD 'Swing Time!' from the band Captains of Mainstream. 2001 she sang on the CD 'Summer Sessions 2001'. (Compilation CD, with a.o: Madeline Bell, Deborah Carter, Edwin Rutten, Joke Bruys, Jan Verwey, Bobby Johnson, Leonardo Amuedo, Rob v. Kreeveld, Frits Landesbergen) 2002 she was a guest on the CD 'A Living Legend' from the saxophone legend Harry Verbeke. 2002 a new summer project with the Royal Dutch Airforce Orchestra in The Netherlands. 2003 (30 Oct.) her latest CD "Songs for Sale" was released. On this album Clous van Mechelen plays the saxophone. The album was released by Munich Records. More critic reviews: "Even if you would call Colette Wickenhagen just a singer, you wouldn't do her any justice at all. Even if you don't see her, if you only listen to her music, you can hear that she does a lot more than just use her vocal cords. She is one piece of dynamite that can make any stage rock and explode. She just forces the audience to listen. In view of the varied course of her career, it is not so strange. She studied successively at the Conservatoire in The Hague (NL), the Arts Educational School in London / Tring Park (GB), at the renowned (amongst ex-students the cherished as well as notorious) Nel Roos Academy and the Art of the Cabaret Academy in Amsterdam. Furthermore she worked as a dancer with the ballet company Intro Dans (NL), as an actrice in the TV-series 'De weg naar Peruwelz' (TROS / NL), as a Dramatic Arts & Musical teacher at cultural centers in Nijmegen and Harderwijk (NL) and as a singer in her own ensembles as well as in other peoples bands, ranging from trio's to big bands. Of course she brings this enormous amount of stage experience with her; she knows how to move, how to send the right mimicry, in short she knows how body language can enhance her musical expression. Still, while performing she gives a lot more than just a professional sophisticated show; she gives herself. That enormous physical expressiveness, the willingness to throw herself deeply into a song, the art of swingingly taking in tow a full concert hall, is part of her being. From the top of her head to the tip of her toes, she ís music..." (part of a CD-review written by the renowned Dutch jazz critic Jan Rensen in 1994) 2003 "What a voice. ''The Dutch Cleo Laine,'' according to a visitor. Maybe the cold she had, which made her voice a little huskier than usual, had a little to do with it. But it is defenitely an honorary title she deserved. Van Mechelen played sax and piano sometimes both at the same time and Colette took care of the feature of the program, with songs from Cole Porter and other classic giants. At home she grew up with music. ''We listened to Benny Webster, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis and many other wonderful musicians.'' That's where her love for this timeless repertoire started. ''Clous cherished the same love and that brought us together.'' For the lover it was, in short, an evening of musical recognition. And as the evening progressed the enthusiasm grew. "Why isn't this woman on the stage of Carré,'' uttered a new fan with a sigh, who then immediately bought a new CD, so that she can at least be heard at home, with pieces like Night and Day, Love for Sale and a classic which according to Wickenhagen herself was very appropriate for the Parool Theater: You'd be so nice to come home to. As far as we're concerned our door is always wide open." (PAROOL / Corrie Verkerk) 2001 "Blues singer Colette Wickenhagen acted as the real 'seasoning' this evening. The singer, short in stature, had a great voice that left no-one untouched.... Luckily they saved the best for last. Without detracting from the merits of the orchestra, Colette Wickenhagen 'stole' the show. With numbers like I was born in love with you and Route 66, she immediately captured the hearts of all those present." (TUBANTIA / Karel Masselink) 2001 There was one, who almost 'stole the Show': Colette, who was asked spontaneously to sing along. Who with 'smokey blues' in her voice, became the surprise of the evening. Together with the brilliant Ingolf Burkhard, 1st trumpet player of the NDR Big Band and Joja Wendt, there suddenly sprang into existence a formidable Trio on the stage, that carried you away on their improvisations. (GERMANY / Heiko Habbe) 1999 ".... blessed with enormous radiation and vocal talent, kept the memory of Betty Carter alive with her improvisations, without giving away her own identity as a singer. And that's not all: Wickenhagen is a customary nice person, who knows why the audience is there and who gives them what they want in the fullest measure. Listening to her, gives many in the audience the idea that the songs are personally dedicated..... (De Walvis, Maarsen). 1994 ' She has a wonderful voice with an expressiveness and eloquence that reaches far beyond the theatre...' (TUBANTIA / Ton Ouwehand). 1994 ' A personality with a rich warm and sensuous voice, that forces the audience to listen ...' (Enschede) CD REVIEWS: Jan Rensen: To whoever knows Colette Wickenhagen, or to whoever thinks he does ... all right then: at least to me ... this CD comes as a great surprise. Colette was, after all, the embodiment of rhythm, of blues, of physical jazz with an almost tangible impact. On this album, these aspects are still there, but something has been added. Or better still: one aspect of her art is so much in the foreground that it rises above all other qualities: poetic eloquence. What I was used to in her music, was that it started you moving. The music on this CD makes you sit down and listen breathlessly. And later you realize that it started you moving anyway. Colette asked me to put on headphones, be inspired by the atmosphere and then write tasty liner notes. I find I cannot. When I listen so intensely - and the music is such that the intensity only increases - words fall short. The joy in music, the sincere delight, refuse to be caught in a catchy text. So the following sentences are to be regarded as resulting from an emergency plan. The first thing you notice when you pick up the CD box, is of course the repertoire. Fifteen run-of-the-mill, one might almost say hackneyed, standards. But that is exactly the secret. Colette treats these songs as newly discovered finds. She recites the words and sentences as if from a treasured volume of poetry. She sings the melody as if it comes up spontaneously, perfectly fitting the rhythm and the words of the lyrics. Contradictory though it may seem, it is this almost pristine approach that evokes memories of the earlier tradition. Memories of Sarah Vaughan now and then, and of Ella Fitzgerald. Fleeting, without emphasis, but the connection is unmistakable. Colette's singing does not come across as an attempt at imitation or as all too emphatically influenced, but rather as expressing the heartfelt first experience of a new song and it's meaningful content. Forget the run-of-the-mill, forget the overly known! That is exactly what Colette did and that is what places her on an equal footing with her illustrious predecessors. That is the connection we hear: authenticity. I have now listened to the recordings several times and again and again I am struck by new details. Those elusive, indefinable moments in timing, variation of melodic line, interaction with the contribution of the saxophone ..., all aspects hard to describe for the guileless listener, but contributing to the distinctiveness of the music. Of course Colette does not do this all by herself. Clous van Mechelen is such a fantastic counterpart and the accompaniment of the trio is so solid and inspiring, that risky improvisations were simply bound to emerge. But that these are invariably brought to a fascinating and successful conclusion is the merit of the singer who has managed to surprise and captivate us once more. Henk Romijn Meyer: In these dark days in December I've let myself be melted away without effort with this Songs for Sale CD - I acquired them all ! The songs radiate so much pleasure even though they are sometimes sad - the pleasure that she experiences from giving pleasure - as if she will go on forever. She takes them so convincingly in her own direction, and Colette let's us hear again why classics are not called classics without reason. She sings I got it Bad sadly but also in a way that let's you hear that she will get out of the deadlock to grapple That Old Devil. The Company, or rather the partnership with Clous is ideal. He plays beautifully 'rough', for instance in No More Blues - Colette sings more lay back, and as if she could go on like this 'till the end of time! I hope she makes it! HVT / René de Cocq: Colette & Clous Colette Wickenhagen has a certain reputation in the circuit as an interpreter of a vital form of bluesy jazz, or jazzy rhythm and blues. On this album she chooses, under the care of saxophone player/composer Clous van Mechelen, for a fairly jazz directed approach, with a considerable amount of guts but fortunately without any form of pretension. Wickenhagen has a pleasing 'light brown' voice and commands an utmost striking form of timing. Van Mechelen (also known for his many pastiche productions together with Wim T. Schippers, think back to the renowned period around Sjef van Oekel and consorts, and the radio program Ronflonflon) has come back to his old love, the tenor saxophone, and let's us hear that he hasn't lost the jazz trade. The two, who sense each other very well, are effectively supported by a 'company' existing of pianist Nick van den Bos, double bass player George van Deijl and drummer Menno Veenendaal. The wheel of the vocal jazz is not reinvented, but it rolls very smoothly. Bussum / Langs de Lijn / Henk de Boer: Colette Wickenhagen, who is blessed with a phenomenal voice, forms together with Clous van Mechelen, who's saxophone playing even when he plays quietly let's us hear the underlying power, a good couple. If there is ever talk about synergy it must be here. On top of this they are supported on a high level by the varied talented Nick van den Bos on the piano, George van Deijl on the double bass and Menno Veenendaal on the drums, who adapt effortlessly to all the soloists escapades. Both operate with a large assortment of expressions and with this it is not music that whiffs by like a summer breeze, but instead claims all attention. What I especially like is the spectacular way in which Clous's tenor supports the singer, sometimes with beautiful 'tone-carpets' in the background or in caught up duets in which both of them let us hear that they indeed can play in very different registers. Colette also convinces us that she can scat. The choice of the 15 songs gives us a lot to recognize without giving you the feeling that it is mainly a standard repertoire. One third is from the giant Cole Porter including the (almost) title song Love For Sale, but apart from that there are songs from Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, Carlos Jobim and Jon Hendricks. Here nothing of the refined distinction of Nancy Morano, but more a delicious swinging fiery blanket that covers you nice and warm... Showbizzinfo: There are those discs which you can never get enough of. 2CC & Company are together responsible for this crown jewel. More then an hour the most beautiful disc that appeared this year from these Dutch jazz artists. Fifteen wonderful songs with more then excellent singing from Colette Wickenhagen. Once I Loved and Love For Sale are the grand crown jewels of this CD but also the other songs are really worth listening. Enjoy the sound of 2CC & Company.